The Rental Expert!!

I specialze in rentals for the Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Brickell and Miami areas!!

The Rental Expert!!

My name is Joe Higgins and I am a Realtor who specializes in residential rentals for the Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Brickell & Miami area's!! If you're looking to rent an apartment, condo, single family home or town home then you came to the right place!! If you're looking to search MLS Listings then click the "Search MLS Quick Links Now" tab below. If you are short on time, you can click the "Call" button to speak to me directly. You can also send me a quick e-mail with what you are looking for!!

Search "MLS Quick Links" now!!

Why am I "An Expert"?

I have been involved in the rental aspect of real estate for over 21 years now. I am an advocate for my rental customers and landlord's and do my best to protect them from "bad experiences" while renting.

For tenants, an example would be: I know of a particular building that may be coming up on its 40 year recertification with the City of Miami. This normally involves a lot of construction and remodeling for example to bring the building up to code. This is something I look out for and disclose to my customers who may not want to live through a year of construction while they remodel all the terraces (for example).

For landlords, an example would be: Making sure you have a full understanding of your duties towards the holding of a tenants last months rent and security deposits (advanced rent) as required by law. See disclosure below.

I firmly believe in educating my customers & landlords in the following aspects of a rental transaction: 

Landlord Tenant Act - Basically the "rules & regulations" on how landlords and tenants should treat one another. I will educate you on a few parts of the statue as it pertains to the money aspect of it (last months rent and security deposits). See disclosure below.  

Walk-through form at closing - We will discuss the importance of doing a proper walk-through form at move in to not only protect the tenant but the landlord's property as well.

Escrow procedures - We will discuss my escrow procedures and process of how I handle mine. It is simple, easy & fast!!

Lead Based Paint - All properties built prior to 1978 require the disclosure of lead based paint. HUD guidelines are very specific on how lead based paint should be disclosed and when. Landlords run the risk of a hefty fine should they or their Realtor not properly disclose lead based paint to potential tenants. 

These are just a few of the topics we will go over to make sure both tenants and landlords have a full understanding of the rental process and the correct way of getting it done.

Tips from the Rental Expert: 

1. The Florida Landlord Tenant Act states that by Florida law, a landlord has 30 days to notify a tenant of the manner in which they are holding any advanced rent (last month) and security deposit. The statutes state that the money should be deposited either an interest bearing or non-interest bearing account in a Florida financial institution. The landlord can also post a surety bond with a surety company or with the Clerk of the Courts. See disclosure below.

2. Make sure you do a proper walk through prior to move in. Notate any physical defects that may be visible to the eye such as a cracked floor tile or torn screen. Provide the landlord with pictures and a description so that when you move out they don't try to claim that "you did it".            

3. Make sure the Realtor handling your transaction provides you with a receipt of your deposit. Also have them explain the conditions upon which your deposit is or is not refundable. If they can't explain this clearly then ask to speak with the broker. If you're still not clear or uncomfortable then simply walk away.

4. A pet deposit and pet "fee" are two different things. A pet deposit is a deposit placed in case there is damage caused by your pet and should be refundable. A pet "fee" is money given to have your pet in the premises and may not be refundable. Make sure you get clarification should you be required to leave any of the above as a condition of you renting.    

Disclosure: Please be advised I am not an attorney and cannot give you legal advice. If you have questions of a legal nature please consult with an attorney for all such questions and clarification. Any information contained here should not be taken as me - Joe Higgins, Broker - giving you legal advice or trying to represent you in any legal fashion.    

Coconut Grove, Coral Gables & Brickell in a nutshell!!

Coconut Grove - Coconut Grove is known for its lush landscaping and "tree canopy" lined streets!! The fresh breeze coming off the bay allows for a very peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Jeans and t-shirts are for sure "the norm". From "old school" artists from the 1960's to the law school student at The University of Miami, Coconut Grove is a very diverse place to live, rent & own!! Festivals and community activates abound, living here will always keep you busy and having fun!! Single family homes dominate North Grove and South Grove, some of Miami's finest and most luxurious residential real estate to say the least. Center Grove features a nice mix of condos, town homes and older apartment buildings for rent or sale. Living in Center Grove is conducive to walking to the business district featuring all the local restaurants, cafes & shops!!

Coral Gables - Rich in history and tradition, Coral Gables is one of Miami's oldest and most historic places to live!! From the Biltmore Hotel to the Venetian Pool, one could easily get caught up in the "nostalgia" of this area simply referred to as "The City Beautiful"!! Single family homes dominate the landscape for the most part. Property values are strong and steady and have steadily risen over the last 30 years. The downtown district has seen a boom of luxurious condominiums built over the last 15 years. The Miracle Mile area is a destination point for many looking to shop and eat!!

Brickell - Seen or "be seen" in this fast paced area of Miami!! Also referred to as the Financial District, banking institutions and high end condominiums dominate the landscape here. Brickell has come into its own over the last 17 years. The building boom that started in 2001 and the eventual market crash truly tested this areas resolve. Since then, property values have steadied. The plethora of short sales and foreclosures has dramatically diminished. Brickell is truly a destination point for those looking for an "upscale vibe" without having to drive to South Beach.